Besides the intended differences, web browsers based on Chromium offer an underlying experience that’s mostly identical to Chrome. Google recently discovered that users of third-party Chromium browsers have inadvertently been able to access data and other sync features reserved for Chrome.

“Some” Chromium browsers today can leverage features and APIs that are “only intended for Google’s use.” This includes Click to Call and, notably, Chrome Sync. The latter is responsible for syncing bookmarks, extensions, history, settings, and more across signed-in devices running the first-party browser.

This meant that a small fraction of users could sign into their Google Account and store their personal Chrome sync data, such as bookmarks, not just with Google Chrome, but also with some third-party Chromium based browsers.

As a result, users logged into Google sites on Chromium browsers are able to see their old bookmarks and other data from previous Chrome usage.

This inadvertent access was discovered during a recent audit and Google will be “limiting access to [its] private Chrome APIs” from March 15th.

Guidance for vendors of third-party Chromium based products is available on the Chromium wiki.

Users that have been benefiting from this accidental integration — to keep bookmarks in sync — will not lose any information. Any Chrome data stored locally will remain available, while it’s also still in your Google Account. Meanwhile, Chrome bookmarks remain transferable and can be easily exported to a new browser through existing methods.

As always, users can view and manage their data on the My Google Activity page. They can also download their data from the Google Takeout page, and/or delete it here

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About the Author

Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com